By Richard Drasimaku
ARUA - The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) tribunal sitting at its Arua office on Tuesday awarded a total of sh39.5m in compensation to four victims of torture and unprofessional conduct by security operatives.
In its judgements in cases of abuse meted out on the victims in different incidents in 2008, commissioner Joseph Etima, who presided over the tribunal, upheld all the complaints basing on the evidence produced by the complainants and lack of effective government defence.
The highest awarded complainant was Albert Komakech, the brother of the late Moses Olwormungu who was murdered by a UPDF soldier, in what the tribunal said was a deliberate, intentional and unlawful violation of his right to life.
The tribunal ordered the Government to pay sh20m as general and exemplary damages for the crime that was committed in Zeu sub-county, Zombo district.
Saidi Abubakar was awarded sh10m after security operatives unlawfully tortured him in Yumbe district on allegations that he was in possession of a gun.
“His liberty to live free of torture, inhumane or cruel treatment was violated, leaving him permanently disabled,” Etima said.
The tribunal also awarded sh6.5m to a former UNRF II combatant, WOII Rajab Ayile, whom Police and army intelligence officers tortured after failing to recover a gun he was falsely accused of possessing.
Ayile said the torture was so severe that he is still unable to dig or do any productive work as a result of the physical impairments.
Another complainant who left the committee with a smile was Ismail Ogama, who was awarded sh3m.
Most of the victims, however, said the compensation was less than the money they spent on medical treatment and transport to attend court hearings.
“The court process has been disturbing and dragging for a long time but God will be the final judge,” Abubakar said.